by Alan David Perkins
Copyright © 1991
Brandon is an usher. He may have shown you to your seat. Your ticket could
have been torn by Valerie, the Assistant House Manager. Jerome, the Stage
Manager, operated the lights and set up the props. Charlotte managed the
house. Rita dressed the actors. Rex dazzled you on stage. Forty five minutes
ago, these members of the house staff were just getting ready for another
show. But for them it's more than a job -- it's a dream of being in the
House Staff uses the concept of the immediate past to show the
never-ending soap opera-type world of the people who run theatres. In this
case there is a problem: Rex, the leading man, might not show and Jerome,
the Stage Manager, has only a few minutes to convince Brandon, the usher, to
take his place for tonight's show.
RITA, THE DRESSER - Female, 40-ish or older. Very eccentric.
BRANDON, THE USHER - Male, mid 20's.
CHARLOTTE, THE HOUSE MANAGER - Female, early 30's.
JEROME, THE STAGE MANAGER - Male, late 30's to early 40's.
VALERIE, THE ASSISTANT HOUSE MANAGER - Female, early 20's. Drop-dead
REX, THE LEADING MAN - Male, mid 30's.
The play is environmental and should take place in literally all corners of
the auditorium. The house lights should be up in the house during the play
and go down at the end.
During the play, Jerome the Stage Manager sets up the stage. He can
actually be setting up the stage for the next play to be performed. For that
matter, Rex can be the actor featured in the next play to be performed (and
he can go by his actual name instead of "Rex"). To enhance the
effect even more, the actress playing Valerie should actually tear tickets
before the show and the actor playing Brandon should usher people to their
I will stand by my statement that this is a work of fiction, and any
similarities to anyone alive or dead is merely coincidental. The truth is I
used to work for an Off-Broadway show as an usher and this is where I pulled
the information from. I won't reveal anything else.
Theatre on a Limb used this to frame a night of one-acts. I wrote extra
scenes in order to link everything together. Scenes took place between each
one-act, people would pop up as other characters and make light of it... we
even had a scene take place during intermission in the lobby. It tied things
Much credit goes to Powell Leonard, who played Brandon in the Theatre on
a Limb production. We gave the poor boy a workout. We rehearsed the show in
the director's apartment. When we finally got into the theater, it was
significantly more huge than the tiny apartment and poor Powell was
sprinting from corner to corner to do his assorted schtick. Prior to the
show we taped up a seat. About ten minutes before curtain, Powell would come
out with some tools, slide himself under the seat and start whacking away at
it. The play opens with Rita turning on the lights, finding a chair, taking
a seat in the middle of the stage and starts talking. We don't realize right
away she's talking to Brandon until he answers. It's a nice little moment,
and the audience finally got the joke.
CONTACTING THE PLAYWRIGHT:
The entire script of
House Staff (with and without the extra scenes)
is available upon request from the playwright.
No production of this play can take place without permission from the